It’s hard to believe that a national blue and corn gold corduroy jacket could play such an influential role in an individual’s life, but that was the case for me during and after my time as an Indiana FFA member.

There is no way to put into words the sense of pride and belonging that overcomes one every time they slip into their FFA jacket, whether it’s the first time or the hundredth.

Some of the country’s best leaders, including former U.S. presidents, were a part of the National FFA Organization, where they learned lifelong skills such as leadership, teamwork and the importance of public speaking.

I don’t think I truly valued my FFA experience until after I graduated from high school and could no longer participate at the same level I once did.

What makes FFA truly special is the people who make up the organization, especially the select individuals who decide to take their FFA career one step further and run for an Indiana FFA state office.

Many of the Indiana FFA programs, activities, career development events and leadership conferences are put on by that years’ team of state FFA officers.

Even still to this day, I admire these young individuals who put their lives on hold and take upon their shoulders the role of running the Indiana FFA for an entire year.

Although, at times I’m sure they are bound to have disagreements among one another, these officers always represent the organization in an outstanding public light.

For all these reasons, my heroes this week are those young men and women who give of themselves to help lead the FFA organization, whether at the national or state level.